And data shows it was a good move. What the quarantine brought us as well was a new approach to remote working. In a few days everything moved into a virtual online environment.
Not only business Conferences, EXPOs and Summits, but also nearly every meeting yours and mine company had, had to be done via online communication channels. We aren’t any professionals or focused on digital transformation but I believe we managed it quite quickly and well.
Here are few thoughts on online events and online meetings. You might find it useful. And even if not, let us know in comments how you managed the transformation in your startups and SMEs.
- Online Meetings
“So here we go, let’s have a meeting via online app. Which one do you suggest?” This is exactly how one of the first few work-days in a quarantine looked like. So what are the best apps to use?
The most famous and probably most used one in covid pandemic, Zoom allows Video conferencing, online calls, messaging, video chat, file upload, sharing screen etc. Why is it in the first place? Zoom has this one super-power which is in its free version. If you have it, just stick with it, because it is limited only to 40mins and that’s the greatest time-keeper from all. Time is money, even in the virtual world.
And another obvious one. It is a chat-based workspace, included in Office 365 and creates a place for people, conversations and content along with the tools that teams need to use. Download here.
We all know Skype. Let’s keep it simple and download it here.
My favourite one, Whereby allows you to collaborate from anywhere with low requirements for internet connection and no need to login for guests. You don’t need to download anything, Whereby runs on a desktop. Free version allows only 4 participants tho. Visit here.
Google HangOuts Meet
Easily connect with your team from anywhere, simple use with LINK to call already imported in Google Calendar. You can download or use the desktop version as well.
The biggest advantage is that GoToMeeting works perfectly on any device. Download here.
The moment you and your Team agrees on the app for Team-calls, make sure the correct link is always available to every participant in advance. The best way is to insert the link to a call directly to the Calendar invitation sent to the others.
As you would probably come to the offline-meeting a few minutes before it actually starts, do the same with the virtual ones. Why? Because your Audio may not work this time properly, there could be an issue with internet connection or your laptop requires immediate restart which will take several minutes. Even if virtual meetings save time of traveling, don’t waste it and let others wait for you.
Last but not least, check out your background, if it is proper enough as well as your clothes. Doesn’t matter that you have a suit and tie, but only pyjamas down there, just don’t get up during the call 🙂
2. Online Events
Hosting an online event is even a bigger adventure than just online meeting. We know what we are talking about, when the covid quarantine was ordered we were just a few weeks from having our Startup World Cup & Summit, the European Continental Finale with more than 1.500 visitors from across Europe.
And we accepted the challenge and decided to move it into an online version. It is a necessity for us, because we aim to stay in contact with european startups, theirs and ours customers, employees and followers. And every detail matters.
Here come few things to do and to avoid while hosting a virtual event.
Be One Step Ahead From The Very Beginning
Make sure you have a Plan B if the internet connection goes South. Then double check that the audience has the correct LINK to the Conference in advance. At the beginning let them know how to reach out directly to you if they are having technical difficulties (use different communication channels to not bother other visitors). Set up rules on how to ask questions to the speaker and when those questions will be answered. Also inform everyone if the presentations will be recorded.
Allow Speakers And Panelists To Get To Know Each Other In Advance
It’s simple, just have a quick 20mins call in advance and check their Audio & Video & Background, answer their questions and let them introduce themselves to each other. This is a MUST if you are having a Panel Discussion. Also important point is always a presentation -> will there be any required and if yes, who will be in charge or changing slides? And always (!) require the presentation one or two days ahead, in PPT or PDF. This will save you from headaches.
Background And Camera
Your Speaker dressed up properly but then the Keynote Speech started and you realised that he or she is sitting in his or her kitchen with all the equipment behind and is looking down to the notebook which is on the table. Make sure that all the Speakers have a similar background projection (designed by your graphics) or that they are in front of a blank wall. Also recommend adding a few books beneath the notebook to set up a camera in the line of Speaker’s eyes. The feeling must be that you (the audience) is in the same horizontal line as a Speakers. And the best way to check this is to ask you Speakers to connect at least 20mins ahead of time of their speech, so everybody is relaxed.
Have a Networking App
And choose the app that has a desktop version as well, because while your visitors listen and watch the keynote speeches that can search for the relevant business leads as well. The networking must be an essential part of every event so don’t forget it in the online as well. If you desire to be the best, make sure that the app can open direct call among two visitors who accept to meet each other. And I can only recommend event apps e.g.: MYIA, Eventee and Impromptme.
Not Having Speaker’s Hospitality
During an offline event there is always some Key-Account Manager to every Speaker making sure the Speaker is on time, knows the way and answers every question. While your Speaker is on the ZOOM doesn’t mean you don’t need this Hospitiality Officer. It’s always nice to have a small talk when there are technical issues or when one needs to be encouraged. Be careful while selecting this colleague because he or she creates the emotion and feeling your Speaker takes back home when the event has ended.
Milion Slides And A Sleeping Audience
You all know it. While sitting at the beautiful venue at the offline Conference, you might get a little bit bored but you won’t just leave because there is another speaker or delicious catering coming up. But during the online conference you are just one click away from checking what’s new on Facebook, Instagram or in your favourite Sport Team. You may lose your audience to other attention catchers if there will not be any interaction between them and the Speaker. Make sure there aren’t any 30+ slides presentations and that every Speaker thinks about engaging the audience.
Collapsing When Things Go Down
Stress is a part of project and event management. Stress is actually a part of every job. It is always good to be a little bit stressed prior to the event and then relaxed than vice versa. It’s highly probable that the technology will fail you at some moment so be proactive and ready to solve any issue that comes your way. Startup ecosystem will forgive you if you do your best to save the day. Believe me, been there, done that.
No Ending Slide Or Very Bad One
And I’m not only talking about the very last slide with your name, position and email, but also about the recap one. It gives the audience information that the Speaker is at the end of his or her talk and here are two slides with recap. And then follows a slide with the contact information if anyone has a question now or in the future. Keep engaged with your audience to make them feel they are in.
Not Sending A Feedback Request
Last but not least, a feedback form. There isn’t a better way to collect feelings and opinions regarding your event and all your effort than sending a simple (max 5mins) feedback form the next day when the event is over. Not only that you get valuable information, but also your audience gets the feeling that they can participate in the improvement of your event and that their opinion matters. Don’t underestimate it.